Here's Why JetBlue & Spirit Airlines Canceled Hundreds of Flights This Weekend

Just as JetBlue has tossed its hat in the ring for Spirit with a $3.6 billion cash bid.

Viktor Gladkov/Shutterstock
Viktor Gladkov/Shutterstock
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Amid spring break season, JetBlue and Spirit airlines stranded travelers this weekend as both carriers canceled hundreds of flights. 

The airlines, who have just recently begun merger talks after JetBlue surprised the travel world by tossing its hat in the ring for Spirit, canceled a collective 254 Sunday flights after already having cut 300 on Saturday, flight tracker FlightAware reports. That translates to more than half of all US flight cancellations on both days.

JetBlue nixed 18% of its Saturday flights and 13% of its Sunday flights by 2:30 pm EST, while Spirit canceled 14% and 13% throughout the weekend. According to USA Today, staffing issues and bad weather across Florida are to blame. 

The debacle prompted JetBlue president Joanna Geraghty to apologize to employees Saturday in a memo.

"We had some big news at JetBlue this week, and while that has rightly been the focus of a lot of buzz, I want to assure you our #1 priority right now is the operation,'' Geraghty said. "You have been simply incredible under very difficult circumstances, and we want to thank you for all you are doing to take care of our customers. We are letting you and our customers down, and that is not consistent with what we stand for." 

Geraghty added that poor weather and Air Traffic Control (ATC) delays had caused "cascading problems" for much of the month. And despite hiring 2,300 new workers this year alone, it still isn't enough. 

"We are working around the clock to address some of the most difficult operating conditions we have ever faced as a company," Geraghty noted in the memo. 

Meanwhile, spokesperson for Spirit Erik Hofmeyer said that it struggled due to poor weather and ATC issues across Florida Thursday and Friday.

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Megan Schaltegger is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist.